Point of Reference

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

My husband found an unlabeled cassette tape recently. He put it in the tape player, and I recognized instantly that it contained music from my senior recital in college. But it sounded pretty bad. There was none of the vitality or brilliance to the music that I remembered it having those twenty years ago. I wondered how I could possibly have so misperceived my performance.

Then it occurred to me that he had perhaps played the tape at the wrong speed. We immediately replayed it at a higher speed, and there was the music I had remembered, in all its beauty and glory. It had been there all along.

I could see that this was analogous to something I'd learned from studying Christian Science, which is an explanation of the truth found in the teachings of Christ Jesus.

Christian Science has enabled me to appreciate the fact that there is only one true creation, which is of God, and which is spiritual. God is imparting His ideas eternally. He imparts light, which we might see expressed humanly as truth, understanding, and wisdom. His truth separates reality from unreality. His ideas represent solid conviction, firmness, principle, substance. Every one of God's thoughts is good, perfect, harmonious.

Now, how does this creation of God's match with what we are seeing around us? Not too well for most of us, probably. Most people would say their lives are going on in the context of a mortal universe and in a mortal time frame. They'd probably say life is a combination of joys and sorrows, health and sickness, good and evil, and so on. They perceive life at the mercy of a brain in a body, subject to five physical senses.

Like that misplayed recording, though, physical, material life is a misperception of creation. The distortion in this case goes on mentally as a belief that we have a personal mind, or a personal perception, that operates separately from God. As with any distortion, it gives a flawed understanding of the facts. St. Paul described this phenomena in his first letter to the Corinthians in this way: "For now we see through a glass, darkly . . . " And then he went on to describe what happens when we turn to Truth, God: " . . . but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (13:12).

Anything discerned through the physical senses is subjective. Instead of being more reliable or more accurate than the spiritual facts of existence shown in the Bible -- facts that seem transcendental and ethereal sometimes -- the physical senses are not reliable. If we grow sufficiently dissatisfied with what the physical senses tell us, we stop relying on them. Often what drives us to such discontent is disease, or some other difficult or evil perception that becomes intolerable -- too severe a distortion.

The use of material means to solve problems would be like my maintaining the wrong speed on the tape player, but trying to rerecord what was on the tape. The tape never was, after all, the problem. In the same way, the facts of creation are never the problem either. The answer to solving our human problems is to gain a spiritual understanding of how God made everything to be.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Here is a statement from the book that describes the far-reaching effects of this spiritual understanding: "Christian Science brings to the body the sunlight of Truth, which invigorates and purifies. Christian Science acts as an alterative, neutralizing error with Truth. It changes the secretions, expels humors, dissolves tumors, relaxes rigid muscles, restores carious bones to soundness. The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind" (p. 162).

How wonderful it is to realize that there is only one point of reference, and that one is God. All being is in Him, and it is perfect because He is perfect. When there's a need for solutions or healing in your life, accepting more fully that God is good and all-power brings you to the correct reference point. Circumstances then improve.

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